I recently visited the city of love and was pleasantly surprised, While there was the storybook aspect of it – Pana chocolates at corner bakeries, the Eiffel tower and some of the best art in the world. Paris is also a city rich in history, culture, and bloodshed too.
These are my top 5 suggestions for things to do in Paris:
- Walking Tour: We signed up for a free walking tour (while they don’t charge you a fee, they do expect you to tip your guide and amounts are specified on the website and Facebook page). We learned so much about the city’s history and culture. You’ll have a new-found respect for the city once you experience one of these tours. We experienced where Picasso lived before he was famous, we saw local street art, we saw artists painting on the streets and we learned about how the government provides free housing for up and coming artists, this privilege is of course only saved for the most talented artists. We learned about a pop-artist who was originally from Egypt, who became a pop-sensation in Paris, her last three lovers committed suicide and she ended her own life at the pinnacle of her success too. Trust me, this is a full day out in the city, with lots of walking, and it is money well spent. Pack your walking shoes, a water bottle and have a blast. You’ll leave with a newfound love and respect for the city.
- Disneyland Paris: This was the absolute highlight of my journey, From when you get there to when you leave, every experience is absolute magic. Buy into the hype, wear your Mickey Mouse ears, go on all the rides and enjoy every second of it. I bought past pass tickets and I would recommend you do the same to skip the queues. Every ride is absolute magic, from the robotics to the music, lighting and special effects, if this place doesn’t make you believe in magic, ignite some form of creativity or make you fall in love with your life again, nothing will. We got there from when it opened at 08h00 and only left after the light show at 19h00 and we were busy every second we were there. I recommend staying for the light display, it’s so worth it. After each ride, there’s a merchandise store dedicated to that ride/theme. So, prepare yourself or you may find yourself buying all the things! My tip for Disneyland is to take a backpack with drinks and snacks in it, this is allowed. The lines are long and the food is expensive. We packed some sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks and we saved so much time as we ate while waiting in lines instead of having to go to restaurants.
- The Palace of Versailles: Watch a Marie Antoinette inspired movie before going on this tour as you’ll have more context, you get headphones that explain each room and its history in English and it’s mind-blowing. You’ve never seen opulence like this in all your life and it makes you understand why her people killed her. When you see the way she was living while her people were starving, it all makes sense now. The art is exquisite, the attention to detail is like no other and the opulence is mind-blowing. You have to experience it to understand. I recommend having some tea and cake at the Angelina restaurant situated in the palace. While expensive, save up and eat the cake! I then recommend having lunch at one of the little restaurants in the garden, they’re a little more affordable.
- The Lourve: The day we went there were 500 school tours so it was difficult to move around and see the artwork, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was less full. It’s really incredible to see how small some of these world-famous paintings are. They’re definitely smaller than how I imagined them to be. While there, we had macaroons at Laudree and we recommend you do too.
- See the Eiffel Tower at midnight: This is truly a magical experience and something to tick off of your bucket list. We did this on our first night in Paris. We showered, went out for a gorgeous dinner, walked around the city for a bit and then we walked to a building about 1km away from the Eiffel Tower, that’s where you have the best view of this famous piece of architectural history. At midnight the lights flash, there’s something romantic about it. You’ll see lovers from all over the world there to take pics, and videos of this spectacular sighting, however nothing truly compares to seeing it in person.
Paris is expensive, budget for it and experience it to its fullest. Enjoy and fall in love all over again